Paprika-Roasted Leg of Lamb


Lamb, says Marcus Samuelsson, is one of Africa's most popular meats. Here, he butterflies a leg to help it cook more quickly and rubs it with paprika, ancho chile and ground cardamom—recalling the fiery Mozambique condiment piri-piri. More Lamb Recipes

Paprika-Roasted Leg of Lamb
Photo: © John Kernick
Active Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 15 mins


  • 3 tablespoons sweet paprika

  • 1 tablespoon pure chile powder, such as ancho or pasilla

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom

  • One 6 1/2-pound boneless leg of lamb, butterflied

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • Salt

  • 6 whole garlic cloves

  • 4 rosemary sprigs

  • 2 thyme sprigs

  • 1 lemon, sliced 1/4 inch thick


  1. Preheat the oven to 500°. In a small bowl, mix the paprika with the chile powder and cardamom. Rub the lamb with the olive oil and season with salt. Sprinkle the spices all over the lamb.

  2. Lay the lamb fat side down on a large rimmed baking sheet. Scatter the garlic cloves, rosemary and thyme sprigs and lemon slices around the lamb and roast on the top rack of the oven for about 25 minutes, or until nicely browned. Turn the lamb fat side up and roast for about 25 minutes longer, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat registers 130° for medium-rare. Transfer the lamb to a carving board and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice the lamb 1/4 inch thick and serve.

Suggested Pairing

With their gamey notes and firm tannins (more European than Australian in style), South African Shirazes and Syrahs would pair superbly with this spice-roasted lamb.

Related Articles